Credit: Shutterstock

I tried five remedies to conquer seasickness – here's what worked (and what didn't)

Author: Lucy Abbott

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If you're unlucky enough to suffer from motion sickness, don't let that put you off cruising. Lucy Abbott tries five popular seasickness remedies to find out what really works

Cruising is a brilliant way to holiday, so don't let seasickness hold you back from hopping onboard a ship – big or small.

I – ironically enough as a cruise journalist – suffer from seasickness, so I've had to get creative with how I tackle it when onboard.

In fact, lots of people tend to feel a little queasy when sailing, with a survey by Yachting World finding that 62% of people suffer from seasickness, when surveying the 223 participants from the Global Challenge race.

And take it from me, seasickness is something that you can beat by finding what works for you. Although I've listed five different remedies below, test a few different methods and even combine a few to find your winning combination or method.

As a disclaimer, this is not official medical advice, this is simply what works for me. For any further advice contact your local pharmacist.

Seasickness can be beaten by finding the right method for you. Credit: Shutterstock

What is seasickness?

Seasickness affects everyone differently – hence there is no 'one-fits-all' solution.

This type of motion sickness is caused by repeated movements, such as a swaying movement felt occasionally when onboard a cruise ship, which causes confusion between the signals that the inner ear is sending to your brain from what your eyes are seeing – and it's this confusion of signals which cause you to feel unwell.

Yet many people may feel one, or all, of these common symptoms, as outlined by the NHS website:

  • Dizziness
  • Feeling sick (nausea)
  • Being sick
  • Headache
  • Feeling cold and going pale
  • Sweating
Seasickness wrist bands can provide some relief. Credit: Shutterstock

Remedy one: Seasickness wristbands

These handy seasickness-tackling wristbands are perhaps the most creative solution to seasickness.

Targeting your P6 point (which is located on your inner forearm just below your wrist), these bands put pressure on this point using a small plastic ball, which interrupts the nausea signals between your brain and stomach.

In fact, this practice stems from Chinese acupuncture practices – founded in the 1980s by Doctor Daniel Choy, who was onboard a vessel with a seasick crew. According to Choy's account, he asked the crew to press the P6 point on their inner wrist and the nausea subsided immediately.

In my experience, they are relatively effective. Interestingly, I find that they work very well in cars, but with the constant motion of a cruise ship, the effect can wear off.

And this is because the typical effectiveness of seasickness bands only lasts for up to 48 hours. So, if you're on a sailing for longer than a few days, then you might need to find different means to reduce sickness.

I also found that the seasickness bands aren't the most attractive accessory on a formal night onboard a cruise ship – so unless you are willing to bedazzle your bands, it might be worth turning to a different method.

Fresh ginger and lemon tea can help seasickness. Credit: Shutterstock

Remedy two: Fresh ginger and lemon tea

It's simple and relatively cheap, fresh ginger and lemon tea has been proven to be effective in cases of mild motion sickness.

The magic is in the ginger specifically, which has the power to help to stable your digestive function (so food doesn't stay in the gut for as long) and stabilise your blood pressure – which helps with reducing nausea.

I can personally vouch for this method, as whilst on particularly choppy waters on the coast of Norway, one cup of this tea alleviated my symptoms within 10 minutes.

Other ginger alternatives include ginger chew sweets, which are a more transportable option as opposed to a hot drink.

When relying upon this method on a normal sea day when I didn't already feel sick, I'd start my day with a fresh ginger and lemon tea and then top up with ginger chews if I started to feel the movement of the waves.

Overall, I think this method is best used combined with one of the other motion-sickness alleviation techniques mentioned – I wouldn't rely on it by itself.

Carbonated drinks can be helpful to settle your stomach. Credit: Shutterstock

Remedy three: Fizzy drinks

We all love them, and now here's a legitimate excuse to drink them.

Whilst much like the ginger and lemon tea, I would only use this method in conjunction with another one, it still proves effective relief from sickness.

And fizzy drinks have this effect through their carbonation, which helps to reduce the acidity in the stomach, therefore helping alleviate nausea.

In fact, if you want to get technical, the PH of the likes of Coca-Cola resemble the natural gastric acid of the stomach, which aids fibre digestion.

But you can have any carbonated drink to hand – whether this is sparkling water or a glass of Sprite, with the ease and transportability being massive benefits of this method.

A mid-ship balcony cabin is best for those who tend to feel motion sick. Credit: Shutterstock

Remedy four: A mid-ship balcony cabin

I found that throughout my travels, the location of your cruise cabin is vital to how much you can feel movement throughout the ship.

For me, the best position to be in is the middle of the ship on a lower deck and in a cabin with a balcony.

This location means that you are less likely to feel the swaying movements of the ship, and you have quick access to fresh air – which is also a great way to help with travel sickness.

But if you don't have a balcony, perhaps map out the quickest way to get out on the deck and ensure you face the direction of travel – I like to focus on the horizon to get rid of any motion sickness.

Remedy five: Seasickness tablets

For me, motion or travel sickness tablets from my local pharmacy work best to tackle seasickness.

My top tip would be to ensure that you take your tablets the recommended time before setting sail, to knock any nausea in the bud before it has the chance to start.

So, take note of the sail away times from the port and plan accordingly.

Visit your local pharmacist and ask for their recommendation as the type of motion sickness tablets you take can depend on other medications you are currently taking – but I find that the Stugeron or Boots own-branded travel tablets work a treat.

Happy sailing.

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About Lucy Abbott

Lucy is a cruise journalist who has sailed on a variety of ships, from expedition to river – with her favourite being expedition cruising.

Lucy is interested in new sustainable ways to cruise as well as how cruising is becoming accessible for all.

She works together with Kaye Holland to keep the World of Cruising website up to date with all the latest cruise news.